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POETRY: A Magazine of Verse 


A scholar, 
Weary of erecting the fragile towers of words, 
Went on a pilgrimage to Asama-Yama ; 
And seeing the force of the fire 
Spouting from this mighty mountain, 
Hurled himself into its crater 
And perished. 


The paper carp, 
At the end of its long bamboo pole, 
Takes the wind into its mouth 
And emits it at its tail. 
So is man, 
Forever swallowing the wind. 


A wise man, 
Watching the stars pass across the sky, 
Remarked : 
In the upper air the fireflies move more slowly. 


At Matsue 
There was a Camellia Tree of great beauty 


The Camellia Tree of Matsue 

Whose blossoms were white as honey wax 

Splashed and streaked with the pink of fair coral. 

At night 

When the moon rose in the sky, 

The Camellia Tree would leave its place 

By the gateway, 

And wander up and down the garden, 

Trailing its roots behind it 

Like a train of rustling silk. 

The people in the house, 

Hearing the scrape of them upon the gravel, 

Looked out into the garden 

And saw the tree, 

With its flowers erect and peering, 

Pressed against the shojii. 

Many nights the tree walked about the garden, 

Until the women and children 

Became frightened, 

And the Master of the house 

Ordered that the tree be cut down. 

But when the gardener brought his axe 

And struck at the trunk of the tree, 

There spouted forth a stream of dark blood ; 

And when the stump was torn up, 

The hole quivered like an open wound. 

Amy Lowell